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Australia seeking closer links with Pacific Russia



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15-5 No. Date:

AUSTRALIA SEEKING CLOSER LINKS WITH PACIFIC RUSSIA

Australia was keen to develop stronger commercial ties with Pacific Russia, the Minister for Trade and Overseas D evelopment, Mr John Kerin, said today on the eve of his departure on a visit to Vladivostok, Sakhalin and Khabarovsk.

Mr Kerin is leading an Australian business delegation to the region from 22 to 25 November to discuss opportunities for economic and commerical co-operation between Australia and the region.

The Minister will open an Australian Consulate in Vladivostok on 22 November and the following day will jointly chair the inaugural meeting of the Committee on A ustralia-Pacific Russia Relations, a body composed of businessmen and officials which is designed to exchange information and identify opportunities for closer co-operation between the two parties.

Mr Kerin said the decision to establish the Vladivostok Consulate, the first Australian mission to be established in Russia outside Moscow, was a clear de monstration of Australia's commitment to closer ties with Pacific Russia. The consulate will be headed by an honorary consul, Mr Vladimir Gavriliuk, and will incorporate an office of Austrade.

Mr Kerin said the business delegation hoped to identify commercial opportunities and to allow senior business representatives to outline their capabilities and interests. Eleven Australian companies or institutions will be represented, including BHP, CRA and Comalco.

" We are interested is seeing if we can assist Pacific Russia in areas where Australia has special expertise - for example, in training courses in business a dministration, resource development, employment training and food p rocessing," Mr Kerin said.

"The idea is to develop a greater knowledge of what we each have to offer the other and to consolidate and expand our relationship, which has been developing steadily since a major Australian trade display in Vladivostok in 1990 launched Australia's trade drive into the region."

Mr Kerin will later visit China and the cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Harbin, before going to Japan to open an Austrade consulate in the city of Sapporo.

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CANBERRA

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COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY